It was an early start to the day and for many people, the first panel on Sunday morning at Ottawa Comic Con was the very talented and engaging Karl Urban, known for his roles in Almost Human, Star Trek and of course, Dredd. With the turn out, it was obvious no one could fill a room faster than the star that hails from New Zealand. He was candid with his fans, telling stories from sets and his true feelings on the cancellation of the television series Almost Human.
The panel began as Urban spoke candidly of the experience on the set of the Star Trek reboot, where Leonard Nimoy put his ‘ears on’ for the first time in seventeen years. Urban described the experience as “extraordinary”, and as a fan of the original series in his youth, it was amazing to see everything come together and the realization of the fact that he was going to be the new Bones McCoy.
Not surprisingly, many fan questions revolved around Urban’s newest ventures, including Almost Human and Dredd. Recently, it was announced that Almost Human was cancelled and fans were curious about Urban’s feelings about it. While it’s definitely upsetting to see a project take a nosedive, Urban was glad to be a part of it while he could be and he expressed excitement at what doors of opportunity would open. He was thankful for all of the fans that loved the show, and deeply apologetic that they’ll get no real end to the series (though he did say it should end with Kennex and Dorian driving off into the distance – and then Kennex would open the door and kick Dorian out). He also explained that working in television is much harder, stating that the sixteen hour days that lasted six days a week kept him away from his family and that wasn’t ideal.
On the other hand, many were curious if there had been any headway made on the possibility of a Dredd sequel. On the topic of the sequel Urban stated:
“I know I’m keen to make a sequel as much as you are all keen to see it.”
Urban’s desire to portray the infamous Judge Dredd on screen didn’t stop there, though. “I’m very happy there’s so much love for Dredd and I’m very proud of it.” He explained, and thought that fans really can’t do enough to get the attention of those in charge of making the executive decision of whether or not a sequel would happen. Urban explained that Dredd was not a monetary success in some markets, which has made investors wary. Though, a fan asked if by chance letter-writing was a good idea, and Urban agreed.
“A third season of Star Trek came about because of a letter-writing campaign.” He said to the suggestion, “Letter-writing is a great idea; it’s very much people power.”
Urban also praised Alex Garland’s writing for the Dredd film and explained that he has been a fan of the law-bringer since his youth. When he read the script he was happy with what he saw, especially regarding Dredd and his helmet, which wouldn’t be removed during the course of the film. In the end, he was incredibly pleased with the films result.
But while there is no new news of a Dredd sequel, Urban was happy to talk about the next installment in the Star Trek franchise. He noted that Roberto Orci, writer for the previous two films, was in negotiations to direct, which Urban announced would begin filming in early 2015. This means we may be hearing news shortly on whether or not they’ve chosen Orci as their director very soon. Urban was definitely in Orci’s favor, saying, “He gets Star Trek.”
He also briefly spoke about how happy he was to see that his rendition of Bones McCoy lived on in IDW Publishing‘s comics. Of the comics he said, “I haven’t read all of them, but it floors me to see the incredible artwork.”
Urban was also asked how to go about properly supporting someone who wishes to get into the acting field. He stressed things like positive reinforcement, reminding everyone that you only get out what you put in to anything you do, not just acting. If someone began a project thinking, “this is never going to work”, chances are slim for success. Urban stated that the power of positivity can shine through and will lead to positive aspirations, but he did have some other advice as well that was a little more of a joke;
“If your son comes to you and says, ‘I want to be an actor’, you say, ‘no son, you pronounced ‘doctor’ incorrectly.”
Urban was also asked how he might survive a zombie apocalypse; a common conversational question nowadays. To that, Urban replied that he would find an island with coconuts, fresh water, some good surf, and a surfboard. He also added that his arsenal of weapons would include, “Automatics, semi-automatics, shotguns for close range, pistols – I hear nitroglycerin is good – claymores, trip wires… and that’s how I’d survive the zombie apocalypse!”
Finally, Urban had the chance to speak about actors whose work inspired and moved him, citing Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day Lewis as a couple of his favorites. He said he is constantly moved by their performances and how Lewis isn’t just an actor that plays a role, but he makes his audience feel that he truly is the character he portrays.
So with news of a third installment of Star Trek, some love to Dredd, some advice and a little talk about the zombie apocalypse, the crowd seemed elated by the end of the forty-five minute panel that felt like it flew by but left many with fond memories and perhaps a new drive to begin writing letters to Lionsgate about a Dredd sequel.